BP's oil spill, after some actual measurements have been made as opposed to weeks of reports of BP execs' "gut feeling" that it was only 3-5000 bbls/day, is now known to be more like 80.000 bbls/day and may reach 120K bbls/day before it's diverted to a new pipe.
(NOTE: There is now no talk whatever about "stopping" the spill - capping or otherwise plugging the well. All anybody talks about is "capturing" as much of the oil as they can. BP's early lame efforts to cap are now being used as proof that the well can't be plugged and the company's only choice is to grab as much of it as possible.
And sell it.)
BP, after some arm-twisting by an embarrassed Obama, agreed to "voluntarily" create an escrow account of $20B to cover the cost of damage by the spill.
BP agreed Wednesday to set aside $20 billion in a fund to pay damage claims stemming from the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and President Barack Obama staked his own reputation on the claims being paid.
The announcements followed an extraordinary meeting that took on the air of a summit, with lawyers for both sides negotiating in advance before Obama and his top advisers sat down across a long table from BP executives in the White House Roosevelt Room.
One such scripted moment worked out beforehand: that Obama would ask for, and get, a pledge from BP to set aside $100 million in a separate fund to compensate oil rig workers left jobless by Obama's moratorium on some oil drilling in the Gulf, pending new safety reviews.
All of which, curiously, means nothing much. One is reminded of Bush's dramatic appearance in Jackson Square days after Katrina devastated New Orleans, an appearance in which he promised cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die-honest-injun that the govt would set up a $20B (are the identical numbers simply a coincidence?) fund to rebuild NO. He simply said later, after the urgency had worn off for everybody except actual NO residents, that the country "couldn't afford it" and cut the amount to $5B, carefully writing the rules of eligibility in a way friendly to gaming/resort interests in unaffected-and-very-white upstate Mississippi, which is where 99% of the paltry $5B wound up.
The relevance to BP's situation should be immediately obvious. The PR value of the account is what matters; whether it actually gets disbursed or not - and to whom - will happen so long after the fact that BP could pay itself the money and nobody would notice, we all having forgotten about it in the months following due to our latest absorbing interest in Tiger Woods' marriage or Sarah Palin's maybe-new boobs or the color of Billo's loofah.
Still, even if it turns out BP don't really mean it, it's a good moment to make believe. At least they understand the necessity of appearing to make an effort. The Chair apologized even.
BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg offered an apology to all Americans as he emerged from the White House with Chief Executive Tony Hayward.
Svanberg said that "through our actions and commitments, we hope that over the long term that we will regain the trust that you have in us" and "we will live up to all our legitimate responsibilities."
Sure you will. You've made the same promise numberless times and never followed through but I suppose there's a first time for everything. If I don't believe you it's just because I didn't fall off the turnip truck last night. I remember the same kinds of promises made to the families of the workers killed in Houston a couple of years ago, and they're still waiting for your compensation to kick in while you fight the fines and your responsibility in court. So color me skeptical.
Which is qualitatively different from Texas GOP Rep Joe Barton's licking of Tony Hayward's oily ass on national tv. I guess Barton's district doesn't include Galveston so he doesn't give a shit what BP does. (Via Avedon)
Here's the first (and probably the biggest) jaw-dropping moment of today's hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward: GOP Rep. Joe Barton, the top Republican on the House Energy Committee's subcomittee for investigations, apologizing to BP CEO Tony Hayward, saying he's "ashamed" of the American response to BP's oil spill.
According to Barton, asking BP to set up an escrow account to compensate victims of BP's disaster was a criminal action -- a "shakedown" as he put it. Barton's not alone: his comments echo those made by other Republicans in recent days, including Michele Bachmann, Haley Barbour, and Tom Price.
It's hard to understand what possible benefit Joe thinks such tongue-work will bring him in the eyes of his constituents. Are they so numbingly stoopid in Texas that they actually believe BP is the victim here? Is that possible?
Right. It's Texas.
Still, as noted, other GOP stars are involved and they're not from the state with more butterheads per sq ft than a Cali fat farm. Bachmann is from Minnesota, fer dawg's sake. Thus it seems the Know-Nothing-And-Care-Less Party continues it's lemming-like cliff-diving act, aching to be remembered by people who would like to see Hayward strung up by his balls as Tony's BFF defender-cum-boytoy. Is that some sort of political courage or just more suicidal behaviour from a party begging to be put out of its - and our - misery? And does it matter?
UPDATE: (4.45p) Some Republicans were appalled by Barton's blatant smooch (it gave away their whole strategy, for goodness sake!) and ordered him to take it back. He did.
This has snowballed. Jeff Miller (R-FL), a Republican Congressman from the Pensacola area (one of the places hit hard by the oil spill), has publicly called for Joe Barton to step down in the wake of his comments apologizing to BP for their "treatment by the White House."
Barton, taking the mic at the continuing House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, just walked back his remarks. He said he wanted the record to show that he thought BP was responsible for the spill, and he apologized to people in the Gulf Coast region in a roundabout way, saying "if anything I have said this morning has been misconstrued … I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction."
Why, if I didn't know the particulars, given the trajectory I'd have thought the Republicans were the ones offended and the Democrat was the one apologizing quickly.
Aggressive non-apologies after defending the indefensible. Yup, sounds like the Pubs to me.
Powered by Zoundry Raven